The municipality of Växjö is a prime example of Swedish wood construction, where at least 50 % of new construction will be wood by 2020. Visit Växjö to see residential and commercial buildings, as well as infrastructure made in wood.
The Växjö municipality has since long worked with a long-term strategy for wooden construction. In later years, this has been developed into a general strategy to decrease the carbon- and climate footprint. Wood as the only renewable building material is predominately used. There are similar examples in Sweden of cities employing similar strategies but Växjö is furthest ahead by the strategy The Modern Wooden City. The goal is that at least 50 % of construction in Växjö should be in wood by 2020. Today Växjö includes examples such as residential, commercial and infrastructure made in wood.
Cooperation as a key to success
A key factor to the success in Växjö has been the close cooperation between the municipality, society and the industry, the triple helix. By clear societal planning and strategy, the proximity of an innovation environment and investments by the industry work has progressed. Before 1994 fire safety requirements prohibited buildings taller than two stories in wood but the transition to a performance-based system made Sweden into a global leader in wooden construction. Wood construction in Sweden is also far ahead in terms of digitalization, prefabricated construction, automatization and robotization. Digitalization of information flows in the construction process leads to higher efficiency and improved quality.
Modular construction is well suited for prefabricated construction which is also scalable compared to traditional construction. Close to Växjö, there are factories such as Eksjöhus, Hjältevadshus, Obos and Vida. While modular construction is predominantly led by bigger companies, there are plenty of small and medium-sized companies within timber construction. Several are based in Småland, the region where Växjö is situated.
Cross-laminated timber is another area where other business models and construction systems are relevant. Sweden is far ahead in this area as well, not least with regards to moisture and fire safety for wood as a construction material.
International leading innovation environment
Smart Housing Småland (SHS) is an innovation environment based in Växjö that strives to facilitate innovation and growth within wood and glass construction. SHS is led by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and is backed by Vinnova, universities, the regional municipal board and other regional organizations. There are several types of ongoing work within SHS that relates to The Modern Wooden City such as test beds, construction projects, new technology and research projects. For example, there are current projects that strive to digitalize the process of inspection, i.e. improving quality assurance and creating more robust buildings.
By using virtual reality auralisation techniques are tested to ensure that a client may test the effect of different materials and products, e.g. how well a window may reduce noise. There are also conceptual studies for buildings taller than 20 stories, where challenges regarding structural engineering, fire safety and acoustics need to be addressed. Within SHS there is also the test bed Residential prototype where residential modules are tested. The criteria for digitalization and circular economy are used to test innovation and products.
Limnologen residential buildings
The residential building Limnologen in the Modern Wooden City consists of four 8-story buildings that used to be the tallest wooden buildings in Sweden when they were built in 2009-2011. The new residential project Trummens Strand will be the biggest wood housing project with more than 6000 cubic meters of CLT wood. The tallest buildings are eight stories tall and there’s a strong focus to show the wooden aspects of the building by having exposed massive timber walls.